Rahul Dravid: back in Scotland
© Getty Images|
During his three-month stint with Scotland back in 2003, Rahul Dravid's team-mates had just one complaint: he drove within speed limits. Ignore his safety policy behind the steering wheel, though, and you had one of the most popular overseas professionals. Come tomorrow and Scottish fans might walk into the ground with a double wish: Dravid score, Scotland win.
Dravid's Scottish honeymoon, one on which he was accompanied by his newly-wed wife, was around this time in 2003. Eleven matches produced 600 runs at 66.66 but there were also trips to the east and west coast of the country, plus journeys to Inverness and the Highlands. He even threatened to buy a kilt.
"It's special to come back here and play," said Dravid on the eve of India's first-ever ODI against his former team. "Having spent three months with them I got to know some of the boys. I enjoyed the friendships with players and officials, something I maintain till today. For both me and my wife it was a special three months to get love and warmth of the people of Scotland."
Sitting next to Ryan Watson, the Scottish captain, Dravid couldn't resist asking him about a few players. The press conference took a good five minutes to get underway, enough time for them to exchange thoughts. "I've followed a little bit of their cricket over the internet," he said when asked if he'd taken interest in Scotland since.
"They have their challenges and those haven't changed over the last four years. Some of the issues relevant then are still relevant today. But Scotland play a lot of matches now and I think there's an opportunity there. A lot of teams come to Scotland to play. It will also give their players international exposure. I think the more tours they can make, the better it is. It comes down to whether they can make cricket semi-professional or not."
Watson was stumped when asked if it helped having Dravid in the opposition. "I don't know how much of a help it will be, I know how good he is," he shrugged. "He'll take it seriously, as if he's playing anyone else."
All the warmth, love and tenderness went up in smoke when Dravid was asked about how seriously he's going to take this one. "Very seriously," he said without hesitation. "Any international game will be taken seriously. I don't think we expect any favours, nor are we going to be giving any." Ouch.